Media technologies have played a central role in shaping ideas about home life over the last two centuries. Changing Media, Homes and Households explores the complex relationship between home, householders, families and media technologies by charting the evolution of the media-rich home, from the early twentieth century to the present.
Moving beyond a narrow focus on media texts, production and audiences, Deborah Chambers investigates the physical presence of media objects in the home and their symbolic importance for home life. The book identifies the role of home-based media in altering relationships between home, leisure, work and the outside world in the context of entertainment, communication and work. It assesses whether domestic media are transforming or reinforcing traditional identities and relations of gender, generation, class and migrancy.
Mediatisation theory is employed to assess the domestication of media and media saturation of home life in the context of wider global changes. The author also develops the concept of media imaginaries to explain the role of public discourses in shaping changing meanings, values and uses of domestic media. Framed within these approaches, four chapters also provide in-depth case studies of the processes involved in media’s home adoption: early television design, family-centred video gaming, the domestication of tablet computers, and the shift from "smart homes" to today’s "connected" homes.
This is an ideal text for students and researchers interested in media and cultural studies, communication, and sociology.
"Deborah Chambers’ new book answers a desperate need to understand the way media continually reshapes the domestic realm. At a time when our homes are populated by devices that have revolutionised our connections to the world, she provides us with astute histories and lucid maps for understanding this new situation, and she does so with intelligence and verve."
Ben Highmore, Professor of Cultural Studies (Media and Film), University of Sussex
"This new book is to be welcomed both as a critical review of and a valuable contribution to the academic literature on media-in-domestic-lives. Chambers offers a discussion of key concepts and research findings in this area, whilst underlining the importance of studying media technologies in their social and historical contexts."
Shaun Moores, Professor of Media and Communications, University of Sunderland
"This book makes strikingly clear what has too often been underplayed in the largely disconnected trajectories of household studies and media studies: that homes and media have, in the modern era, been deeply intertwined. Chambers traces, across historical periods and technological innovations, how media came to penetrate homes, and how homes determine the way media is understood: just as media has been domesticated, the home has been mediatised."
Anna Cristina Pertierra, Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis, University of Western Sydney